In Brief

Nigerian mathematician claims to have solved 156-year-old riddle

Dr Opeyemi Enoch could win $1m if his solution to the Riemann Hypothesis is proved to be correct

Nigerian academic Dr Opeyemi Enoch claims to have solved a maths problem that has baffled mathematicians for 156 years.

Enoch, a professor at the Federal University in the ancient city of Oye Ekiti, in south-western Nigeria, says he has found a solution for the Riemann Hypothesis, first proposed by Bernhard Riemann in 1859 and unsolved ever since.

The hypothesis, which addresses a deviation from the average distribution of prime numbers, is one of the Millennium Prize Problems, seven unsolved puzzles put forward in 2000 by the Clay Mathematics Institute, each with a $1m prize for the solution – money that might now go to Enoch.

If he is correct, the Riemann Hypothesis would become only the second Millennium Problem with a solution. The Poincare Conjecture, which relates to the mapping of three-dimensional  space, was solved in 2010. 

Enoch presented his solution during the International Conference of Mathematics and Computer Science in Vienna on 11 November, 156 years to the day after the hypothesis was proposed.

However, he will have to wait before picking up his prize money. The CMI has strict rules when it comes to recognising solutions for the Millennium Prize Problems, requiring that a solution be published in a "refereed mathematics publication of worldwide repute" and that at least two years elapse between the date of publication and any decision taken by the institute.

During this time, the solution must gain "general acceptance", in the form of "a large number of citations by independent researchers in the field" and other internationally recognised accolades.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Dr Enoch "has previously worked on mathematical models for generating electricity from sound, thunder and ocean bodies".

Recommended

Has Gaza avoided a fifth full-scale war?
A Palestinian woman walks through rubble in front of her home in Gaza
Today’s big question

Has Gaza avoided a fifth full-scale war?

Why cats prefer people who hate them
A cat
Tall Tales

Why cats prefer people who hate them

‘Cost of living will decide race’
Today’s newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘Cost of living will decide race’

Is monkeypox here to stay?
Monkeypox virus
Talking point

Is monkeypox here to stay?

Popular articles

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll in Murder in Provence
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

The Week Footer Banner